COLLEGE PLACE, Wash. — A promotional pamphlet recently published by Walla Walla University has caused a row between the school and Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala.
According to allegations by Oakwood, a historically black Adventist institution, the front page of the brochure, titled Faces of Walla Walla, features three Oakwood students.
“We were taking a tour of Walla Walla and as we passed the University Relations Office, some of the staff asked us if we’d be willing to take a group pic with some of their students,” said Shawn Ray, a junior Biology major from Oakwood. “We had no idea it was for a promo piece.”
“I have to say I feel a bit tricked,” said sophomore Communications major Natasha James who was with the Oakwood delegation. “If they’d been straight up about it, I wouldn’t have cared but this was sneaky.”
“The actions of the University Relations team were unethical and unnecessary,” agreed Walla Walla University’s Director of White Studies, Bianca Blanche. “Everyone knows Walla Walla is a super diverse school. I myself am ethnic. My great-grandfather was an eighth Cherokee,” she said, brushing aside a stray golden lock.
In response to the uproar, Walla Walla has released a statement apologizing for “the lack of photo model attribution” and promised to “make every effort to systematize use of accurate consent forms for the university’s promotional photography.”
The team leader who requested the picture with the Oakwood students has been under a lot of pressure to explain his decision. “I agree that my actions were a little unorthodox. It’s just that we wanted to show the wonderful cultural and ethnic diversity of WWU and our own African American students were practicing for their quartet’s next performance.”
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